Susan L.

Learning to Make and Take Time

This lesson hits the challenge in life right on the head. Time. Yet, the title had its own message. I must learn to make and take time. When so much is pre-planned in my daily routine, it appears, that I have to schedule in time for myself; this is rather a sad statement of affairs.

In reading through the discussion of possibly going bigger to get that wow factor, I have to say that I didn’t necessarily agree.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing exhibits of fiber arts in Venice, where the maximum size was no larger than 6-10 inches. Named Miniartextil, this European exhibit occurs annually. With artists from over 20 nations, and a theme each time, it amazes me to see the intricacies of the fiber art pieces. So, for me, going smaller would be the challenge vs. going big. If you are interested, go see

Working obsessive would be a challenge for me as well, and mostly due to the time factor it would require. I hope for a day when I can embark on long-term projects without the stress of the feeling of another UFO (unfinished object) in my life. I have plenty of those.

The gift of taking time; now this speaks to me. If I take time for myself to slowly ruminate and enjoy the process, it definitely feels like a gift. It requires a concerted effort, and discipline not to let distractions take over. But in the end, I feel better for it all, despite how it messes with my weekly schedule.

My Exercise

I decided to do it. Yesterday, instead of going to a museum, as had been the plan, (since I was visiting Don, my friend, in his Palo Alto home), I asked if we could stay in, and work on art projects instead. He was amenable. I decided to tackle the 100-theme project, which is daunting in itself, as 100 whatevers are a lot of things, each needing some level of attention. I have no idea how long this will take to complete, but given the slow-movement nature of it all, I am training myself not to care.

After some discussions on what materials I would have available to me, as I wasn’t in my own studio, we settled on the fact that I could pillage Don’s button jars. So, out they came. and in looking at them, ideas began to form. There were two jars; one contained blackish buttons; the other white. No surprise, if you know my friend Don. He has a definite refined, somewhat conservative yet sophisticated taste in the décor of his home and himself. 

I scattered my materials on the table to see what I had to work with.  

Then, another mind-mapping session started to get the juices going.  Fortunately, there were plenty of different buttons. I decided I wanted to impose some boundaries, so this became part of the thinking process.

I’m calling this project Two to Spare, as I will use 102 buttons. The mediums will be primarily buttons, but there will be thread, and a bit of fabric involved, and all will be mounted on a painted canvas.


  • Only 102 buttons, each one different.
  • Size limitation in the piece of 4” x 12”
  • No new materials; use what one has
  • Threads used will be old, taken from wooden spools.

So my museum afternoon transitioned into a button sorting activity, and a painting session. I’m excited to take this to the next step, but want to savor the process, so it will take awhile to execute. Regardless, I had a lovely day yesterday. I made time for my art.

My haiku drafts related to this project.



Gathered from the past,

Buttons stitched on cloth

Share their stories vast.


One hundred soldiers

Organized by shape and style

Telling their story.


Size, color, and shape.

Scattered gently on the cloth

Melding then and now.